Let’s start thinking about our consumer

Let’s start thinking about our consumer
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Digital is a mature medium, a thing of the past.

Now we have agency leaders who have never worked a day in their life planning OOH or buying TV.  And in 2013 we finally saw online advertising surpass free-to-air television advertising revenue. 

So now that digital is an old medium, what’s next?

Consumers are becoming smarter and savvier, and in response brands are creating great environments through social and digital channels that are providing the customer true value. 

It’s time to figure out what the customer wants, and give it to them.

Data will fuel the opportunity to interact with our customers in the coming year. We have mobile, social, and video which are experiencing rapid growth and present an opportunity to provide engaging and interactive content. These mediums are underpinned by data which presents a strong advantage over print and TV.

This growth in digital presents a great opportunity to give the customer what they want, when they want it.

So why are brands spending money on what they ‘think’ their customer needs? Rather than what the insights are telling us?

As the Millenniums become older, Gen Z is breaking the 18-24 demographic. Some brands are going to have to adapt their communications to an audience that is more technologically advanced than ever before. They understand what technology can offer them, and how they can take advantage of what’s at their fingertips. These new consumers will also have expectations from brands, and how they want to be interacted with.

Consumers will be demanding GREAT content, not content you think is great. It does not require a Hollywood budget to create content, as long as it’s quality. For years, Red Bull has done a great job developing good content and experiences for their customers. Its content is never produced for a marketing platform, but its content influences great marketing. There is a strong difference between the two.

Consumers will also be happy to engage with brands providing them with utilities. Our new consumers are time poor and are comfortable with new technology. Curated content as a utility does not require producing content, but rather provides value for the consumer by gathering information for ease of use. LinkedIn has recently acquired news aggregator Pulse, it will be interesting to see how it monetises this product for advertisers. Considering LinkedIn’s core values always have the consumer UX above that of a paid advertiser, you can expect the product to provide a strong benefit for the consumer. And these are the products that will prosper in 2014.

A buzz word most of us have already heard too much of is ‘Native Advertising’, which allows advertisers to provide content within a user experience.  These placements have the look and feel of organic content but can be accompanied by video, thought leadership articles or even social communications. This is a great example of how you can use your GREAT consumer content in environments that they are more susceptible of consuming.

Many agencies and advertisers will be focusing their efforts in 2014 on programmatic buying, trading desks and other vehicles to gain efficiencies, but it’s important to not forget about who the consumer is and what they want. If we think about our consumer first and deliver them a real opportunity to engage with our brands in a valuable way, we are going to provide a better experience for both brand and consumer.

Let’s not spam our consumer now that we have their attention, let’s give them back something of value. After all, our customers are people too. Allow data to help you understand who they really are and what they want.

Curtis Tracey is an account director at neo@Ogilvy.

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